Advocacy Alert: Dear President-Elect Biden…

December 10, 2020

by MultiBriefs: see their announcement.

November 24, 2020:

The Honorable Joe Biden
Presidential Transition Office
1401 Constitution Ave NW
Washington, DC 20230

Dear President-Elect Biden:

We the undersigned represent the major groups across all disciplines working on a comprehensive response to the drug crisis facing our nation, to include prevention, treatment, recovery support, medicine, overdose reversal, law enforcement, and criminal justice reform.

Our nation is undergoing an unprecedented addiction crisis. That is why we are urging a reprioritization of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), including the elevation of the Director to Cabinet-level.

For almost 40 years, you have been one of the most stalwart elected officials advocating for sound drug policy and a robust Office of National Drug Control Policy, with the Director in the Cabinet so that he or she could have the stature to interact with Cabinet heads.

In the early-1980s, despite resistance to the idea by the President and some colleagues, you proposed this idea, which came to fruition in 1988. As you said then:

“That provision (… a Cabinet-level national drug control policy director), to my mind, is the single most important part of this bill, since the new Cabinet officer, as appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, will for the first time provide the Federal Government with a top-level official specifically charged with formulating and implementing, across the full span of Federal anti-drug agencies, a unified national drug-control strategy.”

In 2001, you reiterated this during the confirmation of George W. Bush’s director:

“I have argued that Cabinet-level status is necessary to give the position visibility commensurate with the depth of our Nation’s drug problem, providing our drug czar the clout to stop interagency feuding, fight for budgetary resources, and decertify inadequate agency drug budgets.”

This provision was the right thing to do in 1988 and in 2001. And it’s the right thing for our country now, especially as the opioid epidemic continues to rage. We need a strong ONDCP to lead our government’s efforts to reduce drug use and its consequences-an ONDCP with the budget, authority, and stature to make a difference during these difficult times. We couldn’t agree more with you that “the drug czar must be on equal footing with the rest of the President’s Cabinet. ”


Michael Langford
Regional Vice President, WestCare Georgia

Paula Riggs, MD Professor
Director Addiction Science, Prevention, and Treatment
Vice Chair, Department of Psychiatry
University of Colorado School of Medicine

Gary Mendell
Founder & CEO, Shatterproof

Richard Steinberg
CEO, WestCare Foundation

Sarah Potter
Addiction Professionals of North Carolina

Sue Rusche
President & CEO, National Families in Action

Carol Boyer
National Director, Community and Government Partnerships
Delphi Behavioral Health Group

Diana Fishbein
National Prevention Science Coalition to Improve Lives

Professor Dr. Dr. (h.c.) Marilyn A. Huestis
Thomas Jefferson University

Carol Boyer & Chris Collins
Co-Chairs, Howard County Recovery Oriented Systems of Care

A. Eden Evins, MD, MPH
Cox Family Professor of Psychiatry in Addiction Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Keith Humphreys, Ph.D.
Esther Ting Memorial Professor, Stanford University

Stuart Gitlow MD MPH MBA
Past President, American Society of Addiction Medicine

Jessica Hulsey
President & CEO, Addiction Policy Forum

Sion Kim Harris, PhD CPH
Co-Director, Center for Adolescent Behavioral Health Research, Boston Children’s Hospital
Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School

Randi Schuster, PhD
Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School
Director of Neuropsychology, Center for Addiction Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital

Jodi Gilman, PhD
Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School
Director of Neuroscience, Center for Addiction Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital

Mary K FitzGerald, JD/MBA
CEO, Eluna f/k/a The Moyer Foundation

Mary R. Grealy
President, Healthcare Leadership Council

Mitchell S. Rosenthal
M.D. & President, Rosenthal Center for Addiction Studies

Bertha Madras, Ph.D
The Honorable Former Deputy Director, Demand Reduction, ONDCP
Member, President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis Director, Lab of Addiction Neurobiology, McLean Hospital
Professor of Psychobiology, Harvard Medical School

Robert L. DuPont, MD
President, Institute for Behavior and Health, Inc.
First Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse
Second White House Drug Chief

Creighton Drury
CEO, Partnership to End Addiction

Amy Ronshausen
Executive Director, Drug Free America Foundation, Inc.

Major General Barrye Price, Ret.
President & CEO, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA)

Patty McCarthy
CEO, Faces & Voices of Recovery

The Collaborative for Effective Prescription Opioid Policies (CEPOP)

Chelsea Laliberte Barnes, MSSA, LSW

Professor Yifrah Kaminer MD, MBA
University of Connecticut School of Medicine

Aaron Weiner, PhD, ABPP
Owner, Bridge Forward Group LLC
Licensed Clinical Psychologist (ABPP)
Master Addiction Counselor (NAADAC)

Paul Samuels, JD
Director/President, Legal Action Center

Pamela F. Rodriguez
TASC (Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities)

Peter Dsouza MBA, MA, LCADC
CEO of Addiction Recovery, Inc. (DBA: Hope House Treatment Centers)

John Carnevale
President & CEO, Carnevale Associates, LLC

Debra Pantin
Outreach Development Corp

Gregory Bunt, MD
Past President, International Society of Addiction Medicine

Luke J. Nasta, M.P.A., CASAC
CEO, Camelot of Staten Island Inc.

Robert Budsock
CEO, Integrity House

Mark Cook
Drug Free Dickson Coalition

Pam Birtolo
President, Flagler Open Arms Recovery Services

Patty Sykstus
President, Not One More Alabama

Carie Wimberly
Executive Director, Addiction Prevention Coalition

Mary Jo McMillen
Executive Director, Utah Support Advocates for Recovery Awareness (USARA)

Brian Evers
Executive Director, Pyramid Life Center

James A. Greer
Chairman, National Drug and Alcohol Screening Association

Pamela Greenberg
President and CEO, Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness

Lori Robinson M.S.,R.D.
Moms Strong, LLC

Lorraine M. Martin
President & CEO, National Safety Council

Trish Burchette
Certified Prevention Specialist, Alliance of Citizens Together Improving our Neighborhoods
(A.C.T.I.O.N Coalition)

Bob Bushman
President, National Narcotic Officers’ Associations’ Coalition (NNOAC)

Pete Nielsen
CEO, Behavioral Health Association of Providers

Jan Lepore-Jentleson
Executive Director, WestCare Ohio (DBA: East End Community Services)

Carson Fox
Chief Executive Officer, National Association of Drug Court Professionals

Robert Carullo
Executive Director, Strengthening the Mid-Atlantic Region for Tomorrow (SMART)

Julie Peterson
Executive Director, Foundation for Healthy Generations

Priscilla Lisicich
President, Washington Association for Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention (WASA VP)

Beverly Watts Davis
Chairperson of the Board, Ella Austin Community Center

Travis Landry
Regional Vice President, WestCare Wisconsin, Inc.

Laurel Dudley
Executive Director, Grand Boulevard Prevention Services

Howard Lathan
Associate Director, Chicago Area Project

Rev. Walter Jones
Executive Director, Fathers Who Care
West Garfield Park Community Stakeholders
Chair of the National Faith Based Prevention Alliance

Debbian Fletcher-Blake
CEO, VIP Community Services, Inc.

Kathryn Wells, MD
Executive Director, Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect Associate Professor, University of Colorado School of Medicine

Paula Riggs, MD, Professor
Director, Division of Addiction Science, Prevention and Treatment
Vice Chair Faculty Affairs, Department of Psychiatry
University of Colorado School of Medicine

General Barry R. McCaffrey, USA (RET.)
Former Director
Office of National Drug Control Policy

William J. Bennett
Former Director
Office of National Drug Control Policy

Doug Tieman
President & CEO
Caron Treatment Centers

David LaBahn
President & CEO
Association of Prosecuting Attorneys

Mark Dunn
Public Policy Director
National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers

Patricia Clay
Treatment Communities of America

Hoover Adger, Jr., MD, MPH, MBA
Professor of Pediatrics
Division of Adolescent & Young Adult Medicine
Faculty Co-Leader, Sabin College
Johns Hopkins, School of Medicine

Ted N. Strader
Creating lasting Family Connections
Program Developer
Resilient Futures Network, LLC

Sis Wenger
National Association for Children of Addiction (NACoA)

Jessica Hulsey
Addiction Policy Forum

Melvin Wilson
Senior Policy Advisor
National Association of Social Workers (NASW)

Director Mike McDaniel
President, National HIDTA Directors Association (NHDA)

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